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Groups Object to CMS Quality Reports Plan

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 8, 2011

A rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to allow Medicare and private sector claims data to be used to produce public reports that evaluate the performance of physicians and other healthcare providers raised a number of red flags among the 40 public comments submitted so far. The comment period ends tonight, Aug. 8, at 11:59 p.m.

Among the concerns: the criteria for the qualified entities that will compile the data, the ability of providers to contest the produced reports, and privacy. The comments filed were primarily individual physicians and specialty groups such as the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Some business groups, including the Business Roundtable and the National Business Group on Health, also filed comments on the proposed rule, Medicare Program: Availability of Medicare Data for Performance Measurement, docket ID CMS-2011-0122.

The rule is an effort to standardize quality measurement in a way that influences providers to improve the standard of care they deliver. Although the comments reflect general support for quality measures, with only a few exceptions the statements are focused on the mechanics of process and not whether the rule will improve care.

Here’s a sampling of the comments posted on regulations.gov:

Anonymous from Texas said: “This proposed rule will drive physicians to a race to the bottom by providing the least costly, but not necessarily the most innovative treatment for their patients.”

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